ISLAMABAD: The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres and senior UN officials have expressed their deep concern over confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem, particularly those which began on Friday evening, and continued into Sunday night.
The official spokesperson for Guterres, Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that Israeli authorities must exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
“All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement”, the statement continued. “The secretary general reiterates his commitment, including through the Middle East Quartet, to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements”.
The Envoys of the Middle East Quartet (from the European Union, Russia, the United States, and the United Nations), released a press statement, in which they expressed their alarm at “the provocative statements made by some political groups, as well as the launching of rockets and the resumption of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel, and attacks on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank”.
The envoys called on the Israeli authorities to exercise restraint and to avoid measures that would further escalate the situation during this period of Muslim Holy Days. “We call on all sides to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites”, the statement continues. “All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement”.
Meanwhile, the UN rights office, OHCHR, appealed on Tuesday for “a redoubling of efforts to restore calm” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, after airstrikes and days of clashes between protesters and Israeli police.
The ongoing violence marks a dramatic escalation of tensions linked to the potential eviction of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem by Israeli settlers and access to one of the most sacred sites in the city, which is a key hub for Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed his deep concern at the situation in a statement at the weekend, while the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the issue on Monday.
In Geneva, UN rights office spokesperson Rupert Colville cited reports that more than 900 Palestinians had been injured between 7 and 10 May in East Jerusalem, and over 200 in the West Bank, “most by Israeli security forces”, some of whom had also been hurt. – TLTP